As a businessperson there are some lists you want to be on. Everything from the famed Fortune 500 all the way to the not-so-famed 100 Best Small Business Podcast of 2010. Just as long as “Best” or “Favorite” ends up in the title, you’re usually good to go. On the flip side there are some lists in the business world you really want to avoid. Perfect example? Business Insider’s The 18 Worst Companies In America. Business Insider’s list is based on the American Customer Satisfaction Index which reports scores on a 0-100 scale at the national level.
As a leader why should you care about some dime-a-dozen Top 10 list? Everyone in the biz knows that lists like these can be challenged for any number of reasons (methodology, sample size, bias etc.) but guess what: The average consumer who sees it on Yahoo does care. They don’t check into the methodology, they just see that you only got 60 out of 100 for customer satisfaction. With so many different companies offering the same services for roughly the same price, it is imperative that you as leader make sure to never give the consumer even the slightest opportunity to not choose you. The old Hollywood axiom that “any press is good press” does not apply here.
The idea of positive PR is more important than ever. Negative information shoots seemingly at the speed of light across the world via our new/old friend the internet. The best way to avoid a negative “meme-a-lanche” is to be proactive. Get ahead of the problem by focusing on customer service, community relations and most importantly, employee engagement. If you know what your employees are feeling, thinking and doing then you can try to pinpoint problems before they become company wide. Customers don’t just deal with computers and web pages, they deal with people, and it’s those people, your employees; that make those experiences either good or bad.
Check out the list and see for yourself how your opinions of somefamous company’s might be changed, shifted or even questioned for the very first time. Because no matter what you thought before seeing the list, there is now a seed of doubt planted in your mind that could have been avoided with a little proactive leadership. Oh and it doesn’t hurt to hire a really good PR firm.